Alone at sea with my Dolphins

Dolphins are really marvellous creatures. They appear to spend so much time playing games and just having fun. Even when I’m cruising along at 20 knots or more dolphins are always ready to race my boat and take up position under the bow before leaping high above my bow rail and splashing me in the face and then powering away just to show they still have plenty of pace up their sleeve. When motoring to sea in the early hours of dark moonless mornings Dolphins will streak in leaving high speed trails of bubbly bioluminescent green light hundreds of metres long behind them as they disturb and excite the bioluminescent plankton.  Unable to see the Dolphins in the dark my heart rate will raise as the torpedo like trails of light are on an intercepting course and barely miss the boat before disappearing under the bow. But it is only the Dolphins having a game with me and their timing and skills at missing my boat by the narrowness of margins is, as always, impeccable.

Many years ago a lone large old Dolphin appeared beside me and unlike other dolphins which soon swim on he stayed with me for most of the day. He appeared unwell and had a few scars down his back and the tip of his top jaw was missing. He was still with me late in the day and when I discarded my used bait he seemed most grateful for it. Dolphins normally always prefer to catch their own but I figured that this one was old and sick and unable. This was to be the start of a very long friend ship and I called him ‘Old Man dolphin’. He found me again a few months later and he appeared to have made a remarkable recovery.

 Our paths only cross a few times a year and he is always a loner. He will lie beside my boat and splash me with water if I do not pay him any attention.

 One day ‘he’ showed up with a baby and I realized that I had him wrongly named for he was she and would now be Old Girl Dolphin. Old Girl proudly nudged her baby over to show me which made me feel ever so privileged.

I decided to name baby “Dolly”.

  When they were still together 'Dolly' left and 'Old Girl' right.

Over the years I watched Dolly grow full size and Old Girl and Dolly parted company and both became loners.

Sometimes if I have not seen Old Girl for a long time I shed a little tear and think that her time must have come and she has gone to that place where all old dolphins go. Amazingly she will show up within a couple of weeks as if she knew I was worried about her.

One day several Bull Sharks were following me when Old Girl showed up and took up her position beside me. I was worried that the sharks may attack her. The attack came quick and deliberate as two sharks charged in at lightning speed straight at Old Girl. The attack appeared to catch Old Girl off guard for a split second and there was a big commotion beside the boat, and then the sharks retreated with Old Girl hot on their tails. At about twenty metres from my boat I watched as Old Girl caught up with the sharks and biffed one of the Bull sharks clean out of the water. Old Girl returned to me and raised her head out of the water and old Bull Shark was going to boss her around.


 Old Girl had another trick up her  sleeve, whenever the sharks came into  view she would somehow create these  concussion ring bubble bombs which  would 'explode' like little depth charges  which I could feel through my feet as  well as hear as muffled explosions.  When these astonishing ‘bubble  bombs’ surfaced they would instantly  produce a large crater in the water. Old  Girl would then come to the surface  and laugh at me again as if to say “see  what I can do”. The Sharks retreated  out of view when these ‘depth charges’  exploded. 

Dolly has a few tricks of her own. Like Old Girl our paths only cross a few times a year. When she shows up I start singing “Hello Dolly, it’s so nice to see you back where you belong, you’re looking swell Dolly”...... I’m sure she thinks that my singing is a joke because she lifts her head out of the water and laughs at me and then we have a kind of sing along with smiles all round.

Dolly will also roll over beside the boat for a little scratch under her chin.









If I’m line fishing and my fish falls off the hook and floats away in the current Dolly will retrieve it and give it back to me. She does not bring it back in her mouth but cleverly balances it on her forehead.


I just love Old Girl and Dolly they are free roaming open ocean Dolphins, if I’m feeling a little down and Old Girl or Dolly pay me a visit they will always leave me feeling good and happy again but then Dolphins are like that.

Richard Freeman 

Framed Prints of Dolphins



Alone at Sea with Humpback Whales.

Alone at sea with Sharks.

Alone at Sea with my Dolphins.

The Wreck of the ‘’SS Dickey”.

Alone at Sea with my Gannets.

Alone at Sea with my Fairy Prions.

Alone at Sea with my Albatross.

Alone at Sea with Jellies and Stingers.

Alone at Sea with my Giant Petrels.

Alone at Sea with my Storm Petrels.

Alone at Sea with my Terns.

Alone at Sea with Jaegers and Skuas.

Alone at Sea with the Shearwaters.

My 5.6 metre Shark Cat

Weather at Sea.